Back in the 1980s, Steelcase produced this video explaining the role of the facilities manager. It shows a man in suit and tie, beginning with what you’d think is just a dry lecture, similar to the kind you’d find in a corporate training video, but then it evolves into something a little more interesting.
Tongue-in-cheek as it may seem, the video does make several important points, such as the several challenges that comes with space management responsibilities.
Part of an FM’s job is to identify a building’s weaknesses and make suggestions to address them. These may be anything from moving a worker to a different floor or purchasing software to make their jobs easier. They may run into some red tape, though, if budget planners don’t see the point of spending time and resources on a move, or if they don’t understand how a space management program can benefit the company. While one part of the FM’s job may be identifying problems, the other is getting buy-in from the other departments.
Facilities managers may also have to deal with pressure from other people. Let’s say a facilities manager sees that productivity is low in the office, and he or she asks for suggestions on how to improve the office. They may have to deal with a clamor from different people wanting different things. Perhaps one person wants to be placed on a different floor, or they want to replace their chair for a more comfortable one, or perhaps they want a cereal dispenser set up in the kitchen. Having to balance worker’s desires and the company’s needs is another crucial part of the FM’s responsibilities.
While this challenge may be only a half-joke on Steelcase’s part, it does represent something that FMs have to face on a regular basis: having to account for new people. Whether that means someone goes on maternity or paternity leave, or it means that a new full-time employee is joining the team, an FM has to find and prepare a new space for them. If they don’t have the right tools to help them with this, then the process can take several hours. However, if they can convince budget planners that space management software is a good investment, the process becomes much easier. With programs like OfficeSpace, it doesn’t matter whether babies or new hires shake up the workplace—FMs will be prepared.
photo credit: Chris Campbell via photopin cc